MANILA, Philippines – Former Coron Mayor Mario Reyes, one of the suspects in the murder of journalist and environmentalist Gerry Ortega, has been granted bail on Friday, May 6, to allow him to campaign for the polls.
Reyes was granted bail set at half a million pesos by Judge Angelo Arizala of the Palawan Regional Trial Court Branch 52. He is the brother of former Palawan Governor Joel Reyes, one of the co-accused in the case.
Ortega exposed corruption in Palawan and accused the former governor of misusing the Malampaya fund, sourced from operations of the Malampaya gas and oil fields off the coast of the province. The journalist’s murder case has gone through long and winding legal predicaments. (READ: TIMELINE: Gerry Ortega murder case)
The Reyes brothers were arrested in Phuket, Thailand, on September 20, 2015. They have been detained at the Puerto Princesa City Jail since their extradition. (READ: Emails, villa photos led to Reyes brothers’ arrest)
In a statement, the Ortega family said: “They petitioned for bail in order to allow them to campaign before May 9. Our family expresses disappointment (over) the court ruling. However, we will withhold further comments until such time that we and our lawyers have carefully reviewed the ruling.”
In a ruling released on July 8, 2013, Arizala allowed Romeo Seratubias, owner of the licensed pistol allegedly used in the shooting of Ortega, to post bail set at P300,000. Arizala denied the bail petition of another suspect, Arturo Regalado.
Marlon Recamata, the gunman who shot Ortega, was sentenced to life imprisonment on May 7, 2013. – with a report from Nico Aquino/Rappler.com